Mobile application development may seem like a new term to you, but it’s been around since the very early 2000s. Despite its long history, however, many businesses are still struggling to get up to speed on how to make mobile apps. This article will take you through everything you need to know about mobile app development so that you can build software that works well on phones and tablets alike.
What is an app?
The word app is thrown around a lot these days. It’s used to describe programs on your smartphone, computer, or tablet — or even just any website you visit that provides some form of service. The term originated with Apple in 2008 and has since been used generically. Today, we often say app when we mean application. To avoid confusion, we’ll stick with “app” from here on out.
An app is basically software for a specific device or platform (like iOS, Android, Windows Phone). An app allows users to do something they couldn’t otherwise do without it. That something can be anything: play games, send emails, browse photos… the list goes on and on. Apps are designed to solve problems, entertain us, or make our lives easier. And there are thousands upon thousands of them available today.
According to analytics firm Flurry, people spend more than 100 billion minutes per day using mobile apps. That’s an average of about 11 minutes per person per day spent tapping away at their phone or tablet screen!
App market statistics
Just how big is the mobile app market? How much do people spend on apps, and which category do they spend most of their money on? We’ve been collecting data for our annual report for a long time and have put together some interesting information about Android and iOS apps. Below, you can find mobile app statistics from 2015 broken down by platform, industry, and category. Enjoy!
According to Statista, there were 230 billion downloads of mobile apps in the year 2021, increasing from 140.68 billion in 2016. There are almost 2.69 million apps on Google Play Store and 2.22 million apps on Apple App Store.
21 percent of millennials open an app at least 50 times a day.
49% of app users open an app at least 11 times a day.
The total revenue generated by Apple App Store in 2021 was $12 billion.
Types of Mobile Applications (Based on platforms)
Based upon the platform they serve, such as single operating systems, multiple operating systems, web, etc., we can classify mobile applications in four categories.
1. Native mobile applications
Native applications are downloaded directly from app stores and operate on specific platforms, such as iOS or Android. These mobile applications allow you to get more out of your smartphone.
If you choose a native app over a mobile web app, you’ll have better performance and a slicker design. A downside of native apps is that they take longer to load than mobile web apps because they need to download first — but consumers aren’t likely to notice much of a difference in speed if they don’t know what they’re looking for. Additionally, developing a native app means building two separate versions: one for iOS and one for Android. So if you want to reach both audiences with just one version of your app, you’ll need to create it twice.
2. Hybrid mobile applications
They’re not as powerful as native applications, but hybrid apps (sometimes called web wrappers) are easy to create. You can build them in a matter of hours, in some cases. Hybrid apps run inside of a mobile browser and integrate with services such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
A true hybrid app will run on both Android and iOS devices while giving users access to mobile-optimized web content. Hybrid apps have their advantages but they also have their drawbacks; in most cases, you should consider going native if you’re looking for a high-quality app experience. That said, hybrid apps can be great when you need something quickly or don’t want to spend a lot of money on development.
The best way to think about hybrid apps is that they’re really just websites designed for phones—the biggest advantage being that it doesn’t cost much money or time to get one up and running. If your goal is simply to have an app presence without investing too much money or time into it, then a hybrid application might be right for you. And since many people already know how to use websites and browsers, learning how to use an HTML5 mobile website shouldn’t be too difficult for them either.
3. Web applications
Applications for smartphones and tablets, which are becoming more and more popular, can make users’ lives easier. They are designed to help people be more efficient in their daily tasks –– many applications take care of common actions automatically. For example, your alarm clock application can wake you up at a set time each morning. Some mobile apps work well offline, while others require an internet connection. The term mobile app is commonly used to refer to both types of software.
Web applications that were originally created for desktop computers have been redesigned so they’re optimized for use on smaller screens. This process is called responsive design. Many web developers now build two versions of their sites: one that’s mobile-friendly and another that isn’t. The second version usually has larger fonts and more space between links, making it easier to read on a desktop computer or laptop screen.
4. Cross-Platform mobile applications
While these do involve an extra build step, they ultimately save time in development as well as in maintenance costs down the road. If you don’t have budget limitations and are looking for the least expensive option available today, then cross-platform apps may be for you. Otherwise, it might be worth saving a few bucks by going with native options instead. In either case, make sure you’re choosing a framework that allows for easy updates and bug fixes.
Types of Mobile Apps (Based on the Purpose)
You might have heard of mobile applications, but you may not be aware of all the different types that are out there. The fact is, you can use mobile applications in any number of ways. They’re used for entertainment, communication, education, and just about every other aspect of life. There are games, business apps, educational apps, e-commerce apps, travel apps…the list goes on and on! Here we list some of the most common mobile applications and explain how they work.
1. Mobile gaming applications
As a kid, did you ever dream about becoming a video game developer? If so, it’s never too late to make that dream come true. Whether you’re interested in taking on small indie game projects or large-scale studio jobs, there are plenty of options out there.
To get started with mobile gaming applications, learn everything you can about design software like Photoshop and Maya — and brush up on your coding skills by learning a scripting language like Python or Java. Once you have an idea for your own game design, try looking into programs such as Unity3D and GameMaker.
There are also companies that specialize in building custom games — although they tend to cost more than DIY tutorials. No matter what kind of app you want to create, remember that practice makes perfect. The more time you spend working on your application ideas, the better chance you have at creating something awesome!
2. Educational mobile applications
There’s a lot to learn out there — like how to write computer code. That’s what makes learning apps such as Udemy, Byju’s, and CodeAcademy perfect for those who want to be on top of new technology and trends. Whether you are preparing for your school exams, some competition, or you’re just looking for something new, these apps can help you pick up skills so that you always have access to knowledge.
Apps like Duolingo are also great for staying sharp in other areas — from languages to test prep. As important as it is for employees to keep their skills sharp, having employees with diverse backgrounds is critical for success in any industry. So if you have an employee who speaks Mandarin Chinese, an app like Pleco will help them stay proficient while they’re away from work. No matter what area of study you’re interested in, educational mobile applications can make sure your business stays competitive.
3. Business or productivity applications
Businesses use mobile applications to increase worker productivity, maintain customer service levels, streamline internal communications, and more. The benefits for businesses range from increased revenue to reduced costs.
Every business is different; if your company sells high-end leather goods, you’ll have very different needs than a software startup with lots of employees in one location. Regardless of your business model or industry, there are certain types of mobile applications that make sense for everyone.
Take E-commerce for example: If you sell products online, creating an app lets customers access information anywhere they go. It also allows them to purchase items without leaving their homes — which means they can buy things while doing other things. This has huge implications for marketers and salespeople alike. Imagine how much easier it would be to convince someone to buy something if they could do it right then and there on their phone? More importantly, how much money would it save companies that could eliminate many of their sales reps? A mobile application lets users search for products or services on their phones whenever they want instead of waiting until later when they might not even remember what product/service they were looking at before!
4. M-commerce applications
Are you looking to start an e-commerce business or add an e-commerce element to your current business? M-commerce applications (that is, mobile shopping) can be used to sell goods and services, but they’re also used as a customer relationship management tool.
Many businesses are looking for ways to drive more traffic to their websites, while others are already seeing impressive results from implementing m-commerce apps. The data generated from m-commerce allows you to reach out more effectively to your customers on a one-on-one basis in order for them to find out about products, promotions, news updates, etc. within that app. If you’re thinking about adding an e-commerce element to your business, it might be time to consider adding an m-commerce application.
5. Lifestyle applications
Lifestyle applications have been on the rise since 2011 and continue to increase each year. As more consumers start using these applications regularly, it is likely that we will see an increase in overall use over time. This category is still one of our favorites because it allows businesses like yours to provide a service without gathering any personal user data!
Most lifestyle apps revolve around food, exercise, and weight loss tracking. These apps also inspire people to take more self-care steps throughout their day. Some other popular categories of lifestyle applications include Travel Apps (Kayak), Sports Apps (ESPN), and Social Media Apps (Twitter). These applications also enable the users to improve their lifestyle by offering them interesting things.
6. Entertainment applications
You’ve probably heard about gaming apps — apps for your mobile phone or tablet that let you play video games, play movies or listen to music. As in-app purchases become more popular, developers have created a whole new class of entertainment applications to enhance existing applications. Freemium applications are especially useful when targeting an audience that likes to download apps but has little money to spend on digital content.
7. Travel applications
Tourists like to use travel apps to find places to stay, eat, shop, and more. These apps contain maps, reservation management, and travel guides. There’s even an app that gives a view of parking lots to find a room for your car. Whether you need a hotel or a local restaurant, there are travel applications for all kinds of travelers.
So if you want a new place to try out in the town, you can find an app for that. You don’t have to carry around guidebooks anymore when you have access to travel applications. And many of them can save you money as well!
8. Utility applications
Some mobile applications serve utility purposes, like alarm clocks, mapping tools, or calculators. Others include task-management features for businesses or software for managing your finances. Typically, these apps are free and can be found in app stores. Some of them are available on all devices, but others are designed to run only on a certain platform.
If you’re thinking about building a utility app, think about how people use their phones in your niche. That will help you focus on what functions people need on their phones most often when they’re working in that field or industry. The best way to find out is by surveying your customers and prospects.
Related Post: How Much does it Cost to Make an App in 2022?
Mobile Application Development: The Fundamental Steps
If you’re interested in creating mobile applications or improving your existing apps, there are plenty of resources to help you out. Here are the fundamental steps to take when developing mobile applications in order to get the most out of your app development project and ensure you create an app that your users will love and use often. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to developing the next killer app!
1. Planning Your App
Before you do anything else, it’s important to sit down and figure out what your app will actually do. Whether you’re a technical person or not, planning is an essential step in creating any new product. This involves figuring out who your target audience is and what sets your app apart from competitors.
Remember, users care about how your app solves their problems and if they can’t understand how to use it right away, they won’t be coming back for more. Make sure that everything is clear before you begin writing code or building prototypes.
You should also decide on your monetization strategy. Will you charge for downloading? What features are free? How much does each feature cost? How many in-app purchases are available? All of these questions need answers before you even think about development.
2. Choosing the Right Platform
When you’re building a mobile app, it’s important to pick a development platform that meets your project needs. Android and iOS both have distinct advantages, but also drawbacks. If you’ve decided to pursue either one or both platforms, here are a few things to keep in mind when developing your mobile application.
You’ll want to select an appropriate platform for your situation; diving into one without doing due diligence is likely going to be an expensive mistake. Take some time before making a decision or weighing in with all of your resources. The process isn’t something that can be rushed. This part should talk about –
Android App Development: Benefits of Building on Android: While Apple users might say there’s nothing wrong with their operating system, those who choose to develop for Android will point out that there’s no need to compromise. From a design perspective, many experts claim Android offers more freedom than iOS and better customizability as well. Not only does Google provide developers with access to new APIs (application programming interfaces) every year at its I/O conference, but it’s also willing to work directly with startups by offering guidance through Google Ventures.
iOS App Development: Advantages of Building on iOS: Despite having a smaller market share, Apple devices continue to reign supreme in terms of quality. In fact, according to recent data from Localytics, iPhone owners spend over $10 per month on apps compared to just $3 per month for Android users.
3. Choosing the Right Tools
Depending on your audience and business goals, there are a variety of technologies to choose from. For instance, you may want to develop an app that runs smoothly on smartphones or integrate well with a particular operating system — in which case iOS and Android are good bets. You also might want to develop for Apple’s WatchOS or Google’s Android Wear platforms; these tend to require that your developers learn new programming languages and use different tools than they would for a standard mobile app.
If you need strong security or expect customers to pay using their phones, then it makes sense to use one of many mobile payment service providers (such as Stripe). It is also important to think about how your product will be used when considering what tools and technologies you’ll need. One way to make sure your technology stack is right for you is by looking at other apps in your industry. What kinds of features do they have? What kinds of features are missing? How long does it take them to load? How often do users update them? Take note of everything and figure out where there’s room for improvement. Then, talk with your development team about whether those improvements can realistically happen within budget and time constraints.
4. Designing your App
Designing an app is all about UI and UX. User Interface (UI) designing is all about maximizing human interactions. UX, which stands for user experience, is all about optimizing for potential and actual users. UI design concerns itself with shaping what users see and how they interact with software. UX design concerns itself with making sure that those interactions are as easy and smooth as possible. Think of them like art and science – you can’t have one without another, but they operate in separate fields of study.
It’s safe to say that a strong foundation in both areas is your best bet for success. And a good place to start is by defining exactly what you want your app to do!
5. Coding Your App
Whether you want to build a product in-house or hire someone else to do it, coding is one of those areas where quality is extremely important. Even if you do outsource your coding, you’ll still need to be able to communicate well with your developer(s) and other project participants to focus on the quality.
There are an overwhelming number of languages from which developers can choose when building an app (Objective-C and Swift for iOS apps; Java for Android apps; React Native for hybrid apps), so don’t worry about choosing just one — start building now, before deciding on a language that works best for you.
6. Publishing your application
You’ve got your first version of an app, so how do you publish it? There are a number of ways to make your app available on mobile devices. Ionic, PhoneGap, and Appcelerator all offer tools that allow you to package up your application and run it in a mobile device emulator. Just like with mobile website design, many people develop apps for iOS first and Android second (or vice versa). If you go down either path, there are certain things to keep in mind.
For example, Apple requires applications to be approved before they can be published in its App Store. This process can take some time — so if you want to get your app out quickly, consider publishing through Google Play or one of several other third-party marketplaces. Also, note that most major mobile operating systems have a way for users to download apps directly from their browser. So even if you can’t access Apple’s or Google’s marketplace, anyone can find and install your app.
7. Promote your application
Once you’ve developed your application, be sure to market it. Without promotion, your application will never get traction. Make sure you have a website that shows off all of your applications and provides information on their development. Make sure to include detailed descriptions and screenshots to show potential users what they can expect. List any relevant awards or recognition your company has received in its promotional materials. Leave some mystery for customers who may want to explore more about you and why your app is worth using.
Be sure to link directly from your site to Google Play and Apple’s App Store so interested users can download your app right away. And don’t forget social media! Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are great ways to promote your work — but remember that it’s important not only to post updates on social media sites but also to engage with other users as well. Social media allows you direct access to current consumers so make sure you use it!
8. Incorporating User Feedback
One of your main goals as a developer is to understand your users and adapt to their needs. In order to achieve that, it’s important that you know how to incorporate feedback into your app. This requires both in terms of quality assurance (QA) and user experience (UX). However, figuring out exactly how you can do so is a bit tricky.
Luckily, there are many ways for developers to get feedback from users. It’s also worth noting that getting user feedback isn’t just about incorporating it into your mobile application — it also helps you learn more about what kind of product or service you should be offering. When thinking about mobile QA, consider three primary things: design, features, and usability. For example, if your goal is to develop an app with high-quality graphics but no specific function other than serving as eye candy, then make sure that it’s still functional — even if its only purpose is the aesthetic appeal. On top of all of these considerations, always remember one thing: never force users to use an update they don’t want or need!
9. Monetizing your App
If you are trying to build an app that makes money, then you’ll need to think about monetization. There are many ways to do so, such as providing in-app purchases or selling advertising space within your app. It’s important to do some market research and pick a strategy that fits best with your users, rather than taking on a monetization scheme that doesn’t work for everyone.
You might find something else that works better down the line once you have more information about what kind of user base you have. If nothing works for you, at least consider offering a free version of your app and charging for premium features rather than making it difficult for anyone to use it. Just remember that if you want to make money from your app, then you will likely need to spend time thinking about how exactly you will go about doing so.
If you’re working on a mobile app, it can be hard to keep track of just how many there are. Add some features to your app so it can compete with almost 5 million apps already available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. With so many apps vying for your attention, remember to narrow down your focus. Take advantage of your strengths and find an audience that needs what you have to offer!
The sky is really the limit when it comes to creating a successful mobile application. Just make sure that you take care of your users first and foremost. After all, if they don’t enjoy using your app, then it doesn’t matter how innovative or useful it is. With that, proper marketing is important for the success of your app. Your work begins as soon as people start downloading your app. You also need to update your app frequently with new features and ensure that bugs get fixed ASAP!